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DCP, DEEP urge residents to assess oak, ash trees

September 20, 2018

Homeowners should make tree health assessments now, while those trees still have their leaves, officials said Wednesday.

After several years of drought and invasive forest pests, Connecticut’s oak and ash trees have taken a toll. The Department of Consumer Protection and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection put out a news release explaining what residents can do to ensure the areas around their homes are safe from any possible falling trees in the future.

Homeowners will notice a hardwood tree is dead or dying if it loses its leaves before the end of September or if it never produced any this season.

“The lack of greenery during the growing season is clear indication a tree is dead and should be removed if it a threat to property,” the news release said.

“Now is the time to identify and make a plan for those dead trees that may pose a risk to your home and yard,” said Chris Martin, the director of DEEP’s Forestry Division. “Tree removal contractors are very busy these das and you could be place on a long waiting list.”

And though there ware many reputable tree removal businesses, Martin said, homeowners should be cautious.

“Scammers and bad actors target consumers who are in a rush, and feel the need to act quickly,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “If consumers spend a little extra time doing research and homework before making a commitment, there’s a smaller chance that they will experience problems with their contractor.”

The agencies encourage homeowners to get quotes from multiple contractors before committing to one, but “remember, the cheapest options may not always be the best.”

Anyone making changes to property, including tree removal, has to have a home improvement contractor registration. Homeowners can confirm a contractor has one by visiting elicense.ct.gov.

If someone is doing more detailed work — including pruning a tree or other work associated with prolonging a tree’s life — they should have an Arborist’s license from DEEP.

To ensure things go smoothly, the agencies encourage homeowners to have a written contract drawn up before work begins. And homeowners should feel comfortable asking contractors for references from others who have had them do tree removal in the past.

Homeowners with a complaint regarding a home improvement contractor that hasn’t been resolved by contacting that individual or business, should file a complaint with DCP by emailing dcp.complaints@ct.gov.

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